Muddy eats: The Garibaldi – Northampton
Driving into a chilly Northampton today I was reminded of our first ever Pub review…
In the Garibaldi blurb it says where the pub stands (on the corner of Ash Street and Bailiff Street) was a renowned meeting point for women of the night, blaggards and general wrongdoers of all persuasions. It seemed appropriate then, to find me and my partner in crime (on this occasion, my mate Stephanie), one cold and dark Wednesday evening, standing on the street corner wondering how to get in.
I’d heard it was a little craft beer pub, so I wasn’t expecting the impressive Victorian exterior, reminiscent of many of the pubs (since knocked down) in my old stomping ground of Middlesbrough. It’s a wee bit outside of Northampton town centre, but don’t let that put you off, it’s worth the extra footsteps on your pedometer. Even though it’s been open a little while, not a lot of people I’d spoken to about it have been; but you really have to (it’s great to have things that ‘little bit different’ in Northampton).
Once we found the door, we were welcomed by a real eclectic mix of original Victorian features, 70s retro kitsch and beautiful modern touches (something akin to what I’ve been trying to create at Muddy Towers, but clearly don’t have the talent, or cash to quite make it work). Neon signs are spotted around the boozer and the Victorian fireplaces look very cool, yet cozy. Behind the bar stands the most amazing vintage dresser housing a variety of bottled spirits – again, would like this replicated at home, not sure it will ever happen (apologies pics below are a bit dark, those gaming boys just used the eerie lights of the screen).
The barman was smiley and friendly, and didn’t seem to be wondering why two ladies (I use this term loosely) were stepping in from the -1 temperatures, into what looked like a bit of a boy’s night. As it is, Wednesday, is retro games night, so the male/female skew was leaning more towards the lads, not that it tempered our fun!
I could talk about the abundance of craft beers, of which there are many, but Philistines that we are, we both went in for the simple vino and burger combo (quite frankly, it very rarely fails).
Although it looks like a cool Victorian boozer, they don’t scrimp on the wine which is sourced by the Wine Connection, an Aladdin’s Cave for discerning drinkers in Northampton (which of course is what we are *swiftly hides all 3 for £10 bottles). Also with a distinctly adventurous taste in Craft Beer, The Garibaldi offers tempting sampling glasses to indulge and educate you. Note: Craft Beer? Girls like it too and Garibaldi does not discriminate.
We ordered a rump Shaker house burger, salad, cheese, relish with fries, and a spicy chicken fillet burger (that had two chunky fillets of chicken in, which was fab, because we halved each burger so we could try both). That also came with fries, nom (one can never have too much chippage).
Ali, the very friendly barman directed us to some leather sofas, which had…wait for it…a vintage Pong set up next to them! Before you could say ‘child of the 80s’ we were giving it large with the retro controller, and wondering how we’d become so crap in the last 30 years!
Anyhoo, after a shaky start, I found my thumb control, and was Victor Victorious with a 10/8 result. But I tempered my cheering and general lack of humility when Ali brought out our stupendous burgers. We oohed and ahhhhed appropriately (as they did look rather delish), then without much ceremony, we dove in. Date for the evening, Stephanie, was clearly back into her running training, and demolished her share before I’d even got on to the chicken burger! Apparently the dudes in the kitchen claim to ‘blend beef brisket and shoulder to make patties that are as juicy as hell.’ And yes, dear reader, they were. Served nice and pink there was no peep from the dining companion who often asks for a very well done steak *rolls food snob eyes*, and I couldn’t curtail the juicy dribbles down my chin.
The whole ambiance was really chilled and relaxed. Cool tunes played in the background, but not so loud that we couldn’t chat (yes, I clearly am that old ; ) The retro games night hotted up once all the Sega and Nintendo’s were in place, but after our game of Pong, it was just a spectator sport for us (these chaps looked like they would’ve kicked our arses anyway).
All in all, The Garibaldi was a great success. We obviously didn’t try the outdoor space, which I hear has a certain charm; music and deckchairs in the summer. There’s something for everyone with quite a few themed nights too. Monday is bring your own vinyl night, Wednesday – retro games night, Fridays & Saturday’s – DJs or bands, Sunday – home cooked roast (like 12hr slow cooked brisket or pork belly), and kids AND doggies are allowed (good for the Muddy household). Watch out for the jazz night coming soon, and there’s also a cellar room where they have bands and DJs.
As I started this review on the Garibaldi website blurb, I’ll finish on the blurb. ‘The Garibaldi is the back street haunt of those that dare to try. Forget where you are, and see where you end up…’
Well, on one cold winter January evening, two ladies (not of the night, just two regular ladies, looking for some Pong and a glass of Sauv), dared to leave the confines of the centre of town, to deviate just a short distance for something different. And you know what, we got it…(AND I WON PONG).
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Interior lovers, groups of lads, lasses, couples, anyone up for a bit of a laugh or something different.
Not for: Conservative folk, who may not like the indie vibe, or anyone who doesn’t want to make the short walk out of town.
££: Very affordable. Rump shaker house burger and fries £7.50, glass of Sauvignon Blanc £3.50.
The Garibaldi Hotel, 19 Bailiff Street, Town Centre, Northampton, NN1 3DX